Following Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co.’s acquisition of Atlanta-based Teavana Holdings Inc. at the end of 2012, the tea industry is waiting for the hot tea segment to boom, according to experts. “Interestingly, it really depends on what Starbucks does,” says Jonas Feliciano, beverage industry analyst for Euromonitor International, Chicago. “If they put a big push behind it because of the Teavana purchase, we could see it really take off in mainstream. Tea has been waiting for someone to make a big move on it.”
The existence of on-premise tea shops and cafés, like Teavana and Chicago-based Argo Tea, is making it more convenient for consumers to buy tea on-premise and boosting the beverage’s overall prominence, says Agata Kaczanowska, beverage industry analyst for Santa Monica, Calif.-based IBISWorld. This tea presence, in turn, boosts tea’s popularity in other on-premise channels because consumers are more likely to consider tea as a beverage option while dining out, she says. To support this consumer interest, more restaurant owners are offering tea and highlighting it on their menus, she adds.